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Comment: If You Value Our Heritage It’s Time to Show Your Support

Published on: 2 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 4 Dec, 2020

By the Friends of Guildford Museum

We know the borough council is being forced to face severe budget cuts caused by the heavy economic costs of the pandemic. Now there is fear of the council selling heritage buildings, stopping grants, changing services and even selling the museum collection.

This would be devastating for our historic town and our treasured heritage.

The council has put a lot of work into a new vision for the museum, “Innovation and Creativity through the Ages”, to present the life, work and play of the town. It would be a tragic waste to drop all or most of these plans now.

This is not the time to cut the council’s financial support for the arts and culture that also characterise our town. The museum is the perfect conduit for the story of Guildford’s resilience in our lifetimes as well as our fascinating history, woven with so many famous people and royalty.

Guildford Museum.

And the museum can also showcase what today’s Guildford wants to be known for, not just its shops, buffeted as they are by internet shopping, but our ability to be forward-thinking to bring us through difficult times with innovation and creativity.

Guildford Museum

The museum’s venerable buildings are adjacent to the Castle grounds that include the Keep. The council’s plan to connect them with an entrance and coffee shop by the Castle Grounds is on hold because the National Lottery has paused its funding grants. To renew this plan if the museum’s revival is halted by council budget cuts next year would be difficult.

Much could be done with our museum on a moderate budget. For example:

  • More of the museum’s artefacts in storage could be displayed in rotation;
  • The quarter of fascinating historic buildings, the 13th-century Undercroft, the Guildhall, the old buildings of the Royal Grammar School, the museum and the Castle Keep could be publicly linked and signposted;
  • Similarly, the arts and crafts movement centred on Watts Gallery and Limnerslease should also be linked and signposted;
  • There should be an information sign by the King’s Chamber in the Castle grounds to signpost the museum, its quirky listed buildings, and its collection;
  • The Keep could be “dressed” at minor expense to bring its story to life; and
  • The museum should be connected to the Castle Grounds. If an expensive extension cannot be afforded at this time, there are other options.

Please declare your support now, or some of the richness the town has to offer will be lost. If you believe the museum is among the many attractions the council should continue to support, please write to your local councillor for support at the next full council meeting on December 8.

Act now: questions must be submitted by 12 noon, Thursday, December 3

Councillors and officers of Guildford Borough Council need to be aware of the local support for the museum, and the other arts and culture in our borough. Please make your voices heard before the budget is decided and goes to the next full council meeting for ratification in February.

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test 4 Responses to Comment: If You Value Our Heritage It’s Time to Show Your Support

  1. Barbara Ford Reply

    December 2, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Yes indeed. The museum and all the heritage buildings combined with the beautiful cobbled High Street are what make Guildford special, what differentiates it from other pleasant towns. It is, as they say, our USP [unique selling point].

    There are, of course, some very immediate and urgent calls on the GBC’s budget, so it is appropriate to consider how budgets can be reduced, but we mustn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  2. Jeff Jann Reply

    December 3, 2020 at 6:42 am

    The museum must survive.

    The museum and its artefacts are the building blocks of our future endeavours.

  3. Tim Clark Reply

    December 3, 2020 at 7:27 am

    I would point out to Guildford’s borough councillors that I was shocked and appalled to read that the Guildford Museum is being threatened by budget cuts.

    I would ask others to please lend your support to protecting this essential monument and resource. It is a source of civic pride as well as a tourist attraction.

    A Conservative administration surely would not permit such an outrage.

  4. Paula Cooper Reply

    December 3, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Take away our museum and the heart of Guildford will be torn out. School visits will be cancelled and a host of other activities that identify Guildford as a town of culture and the arts will be impacted.

    We need our museums more than ever in these difficult times. They are an integrated part of our community, essential for multiple reasons.

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